Sebastopol Arts & Culture
Concerts in the plaza, open artist studios, and numerous art events and performances throughout the year make it evident that the western Sonoma County town of Sebastopol loves music and art.
You know you're in for a treat when you're greeted by a giant Holstein cow in the fields along Highway 12, as you drive into Sebastopol. This and other junk sculptures scattered around town are the work of artists Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent. In fact, three-block-long Florence Avenue, where they live, has become an outdoor art gallery where you can walk from whimsical sculpture to whimsical sculpture.
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts is a grassroots center for the visual, performing, and literary arts. Its three galleries display work by local, regional, and nationally recognized artists in juried, invitational, and curated shows.
The SCA sponsors two studio tours each year — Art at the Source in the west county area each spring, and Sonoma County Art Trails countywide each fall. Musical performances at the center include jazz, cabaret, classical, and more by renowned musicians, and the monthly Casual Concerts highlight local performers.
A Saturday morning parade down Main Street kicks off an annual celebration known as the Apple Blossom Festival. This two-day event, held in Ives Park (a couple blocks from downtown), pays tribute to "everyone's favorite fruit."
The festival features crafts, live music and, of course, fresh apple pie (and juice) to get you into the spirit. The annual Apple Blossom Parade is a delight for the entire family.
Two Sister Cities (Yamauchi-Takeo, Japan and Chihirin, Ukraine), a declared "nuclear-free zone," and sandal-clad denizens would make it easy to write off Sebastopol cuisine as pasture-grazing-vegetarian fare.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The dining scene in Sebastopol is as eclectic as it is acclaimed. Sure, eateries stay true to their garden-to-table roots, but these chefs know they are dishing it up to avid local foodies.
Looking for good sushi? It's here. What about a down-home diner? Yep, got that. Mexican fare so authentic that it makes jalapeños pop? Sí.
To find that perfect spot to eat, read Sebastopol Offers Some of the Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants, and then check our listings of Sonoma County Restaurants and click on Sebastopol.
Next up: the allure of shopping on vacation. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt for a bargain — for the crafty little bag that's one of a kind or the watercolor that's so delightful it sang to you from the wall of the gallery. Sebastopol has all that and more.
Boutiques entice travelers. Fall under their spell and you'll find you've done all your holiday shopping for the next two years. And that's just on Main Street, which features unique shops with crafts, health food, clothing, books, housewares, and toys, as well as restaurants, pubs, New Age stores, and art galleries.
You may want to create your own souvenir. Pick up supplies at Art & Soul. Better yet, sign up for a workshop. Start or amend your current art collection at The Sebastopol Gallery, a cooperative gallery consisting of 15 member artists with a constantly changing selection of contemporary Sonoma County art.
About a half mile northeast of downtown, visit the shops, tasting rooms, and eateries in the park-like setting of the 220,000-square-foot center known as The Barlow.
In The Barlow, Gallery 300 presents traditional, modern, and functional art by local painters, a milliner, and other artisans in a casual setting that includes two on-premise studios. It's a space designed to see art, meet the makers, and feel comfortable.
In addition, the Lori Austin Gallery features works by Bay Area and national artists, as well as a premiere collection of contemporary Shona sculpture from Zimbabwe, all presented in a unique and comfortable environment.